Zechariah, chapter 6.
Now as we pointed out, the Lord gave to Zechariah ten visions. Visions are subject to interpretation. Oftentimes the meaning of them is rather veiled. And unless the Lord gives the interpretation, then speculation is really foolishness. Because every one can have their own idea, and all of them without real credibility when you turn to speculation or the interpretation of the Scriptures. You hear people say, “But there are so many interpretations.” Yes, that is true. That is tragically true.
I do not believe that God really desires that we try to interpret the Bible. I believe that the meaning that makes sense when you read it is the correct meaning. If God uses symbolic language, if there is a basis in other Scriptures for the symbolic language, then you can interpret it by the symbolism, as long as you have a constant base. As we talked to you about expositional constancy. That is, there are certain figures in the Bible that are used consistently through the Bible. For instance, in metals brass is consistently used as a metal that symbolizes the judgment of God. Gold is a metal that symbolizes the heavenly scene. Silver is a metal that is symbolic of redemption. So there is the expositional constancy in the use of these metals in symbolism.
The same is true with certain colors: the blue for heaven, the purple for royalty, the red for the sacrifice, and the white for purity. So there can be an interpreting of the various colors symbolically if it calls for a symbolic interpretation from the constancy there. Birds in the Scripture are always used in an evil sense as a part of the work of Satan. You remember in the parable of the sower, and he sowed some seed on the wayside, and the birds came and ate it up. This is the enemy who comes and takes the Word away before it has a chance to take root.
Now, if you will follow the expositional constancy, you’ll be all right in the understanding of parables, of visions, and dreams in the Bible. But when you get out on your own and just start interpreting fancifully, then is where we get into all kinds of trouble. I do not believe in doing that; I do not practice that, because I feel that anybody’s guess is as good as mine, and I don’t like to guess when I’m dealing with the Word of God. I like to deal with the facts, and just stick with the facts. And where there are aspects where I do not fully understand, then I like to just say, “This is something that I don’t fully understand.”
I said all of that to say that when we get to this tenth vision, I don’t fully understand it. The Lord does not give a clear enough interpretation that we can know for certain what the Lord is speaking about on these various colored horses that go through the earth.
But I turned, and I lifted up my eyes, and I looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between the two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass (6:1).
So we do have the brass, mountains of brass, so we’re speaking of judgments.
In the first chariot were red horses; in the second chariot black horses; in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot there were grizzled and bay horses (6:1-3).
Now these do not fit with the four horses in the book of Revelation, chapter 6. There you began with a white horse, followed by the black, and then the red, and then the pale. So it isn’t, you can’t tie those two, really, together.
Then I answered (6:4)
Jeremiah had the same problem I have--he didn’t understand it.
I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all of the earth. Now the black horses go forth into the north country; the white go forth after them; the grizzled go forth toward the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: he said, Get you hence, walk to [He ordered the horses, “Get going and walk to,”] and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country (6:4-8).
Now that’s all of the interpretation of this vision that is given. And I do confess, I do not understand the full implication, significance, or meaning of this particular vision. So you can read into it whatever you want, or you can choose to do as I have and just file it in the little cabinet up here, which has marked on the face of it, “Wait for further information.” I’ve got a lot of things filed in that cabinet that I’ve just been waiting for further understanding and further information. I do not have a complete knowledge of them as yet.
Now, as we get into the next part, I have a much better understanding. We’re not dealing with visions now; we’re dealing with actualities.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [that is, to Zechariah] Take of them of the captivity [those that had come back from captivity], even Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both (6:9-13).
Now the Lord ordered Zechariah to take these men to make a gold and a silver crown, and to take Joshua who was with Zerubbabel standing before the Lord. And to anoint Joshua, the son of the high priest, or to place this crown upon his head, and then to prophesy concerning the coming King, the Branch.
Now, it’s interesting that they would put the crown upon Joshua who was a priest, thus from the tribe of Levi. The kingly tribe in Israel was Judah. God had promised that from David there should be one who would reign upon the throne. In fact, the Branch is the name of the one from David. “And there shall arise from Jesse a branch.” It is predicted that the Branch out of Jesse, tribe of Judah, would reign. But here is Joshua, the son of the high priest, being crowned. But then the prophecy given concerning the Branch.
The name Joshua, of course, is significant. It is the name Jesus. It is the Hebrew for the Greek Jesus. In Hebrew it means Jehovah or “yah is salvation.” So it is significant, the name itself, that Joshua was crowned as a priest, but crowned to be the king. As a foreboding or of a prophecy of the crowning of Jesus as King, who is from the tribe of Judah, but also to be acknowledged as the priest.
Now in the book of Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews points out that Jesus is our great High Priest who has entered into heaven for us. Now, for we Gentiles, we have no problem with that. Yes, Jesus is my great High Priest, and I have no problem with Jesus being my High Priest, because I’m a Gentile. But if I were a Jew, and someone would say to me, “Well, Jesus is our great High Priest,” I would say, “How can Jesus be the great High Priest when He is from the tribe of Judah? The priesthood belongs to Levi. How could one from the tribe of Judah be a priest?” So the writer of the book of Hebrews, recognizing that that would be a problem to the Jews, declared that Jesus was a priest not after the order of Levi, but after a different priestly order, the order of Melchizedek, which was spoken of in the Scriptures. He spoke of how when Abraham returning from the spoiling of the five kings who had taken his nephew Lot as a captive, how he was returning with all of the spoils of these kings, having defeated them, and how Melchizedek the king of Salem came out to meet him, and how Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek of all that he had. Melchizedek was called “The priest before the Lord.”
Now of Melchizedek we know nothing of his family background. We don’t know where he was from. This was before Israel was ever a nation. This is when Abraham was in a strange land, actually. Who is Melchizedek? Where did he come from? What is his background? The Scripture is totally silent. But he was a priest of the Most High God, and he received tithes from Abraham. So that it shows that the order is actually a higher order of priest than was the Levites. Because the Levites came from Abraham, and Abraham received the blessing of Melchizedek, and the lesser is blessed by the greater. So here is Melchizedek, a person of which we have no scriptural background, coming, blessing Abraham, receiving tithes from Abraham, and is acknowledged as a priest of the Most High God. So the author of Hebrews said that Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, which is actually a superior order of priesthood than that of Levi.
Now here is the crowing of the priest as king. One day Jesus will fulfill both roles as the High Priest, and as King. In fact, He fills those roles today. But here is the prophecy of the day that will come when Jesus will be acknowledged as the King. And so the prophecy is of the Branch, and He will build the temple of the Lord.
Now this is why the Orthodox, the strict Orthodox Jews in Israel today are opposed to the current Israeli state. In the area in Jerusalem known as Measharim, ultra Orthodox, they have gone so far as to write a letter to king Hussein in Jordan asking king Hussein to annex Measharim into Jordan. Because they don’t want any part of the Jewish state. They are of the feeling and opinion that the Jewish state has no right to exist until the Messiah comes and builds their temple. They are using here in Zechariah the method by which the identity of the Messiah will be revealed to them in that He will build the temple of the Lord.
Now this sets up these people to fulfill a prophecy that was made by Jesus Christ, who, when they rejected Him, declared to them, “I came in My Father’s name, you did not receive Me. Another one is going to come in his own name, and him you will receive” (John 5:43). In other words, Jesus predicted their accepting of the antichrist in the beginning of his reign.
Now in Daniel, chapter 9, we are told that the prince of the people that shall come of the Roman Empire, and in this case the revived Roman Empire, or the European Community as it is more commonly called today, he will come and make a covenant with the nation Israel. But in the midst of that seven-year period, he’ll break the covenant and set up the abomination which causes desolation.
The temple is to be rebuilt, I feel, very soon. There is an extremely powerful movement in Jerusalem right now dedicated to rebuilding the temple. Surely the temple will be standing during the time of the Great Tribulation. John is given a measuring stick and told to measure the new temple and its courts. That’s during the tribulation period.
Here in Zechariah, the prophecy of the Branch is that, “He shall build the temple of the Lord. Even He shall build the temple of the Lord, and shall bear the glory and sit and rule upon His throne.”
So they are looking today for someone to come and to initiate and to help them in the rebuilding of the temple. You talk to the Orthodox Jews today, and they will tell you that they are anticipating the Messiah to come soon, and they’ll know Him because He’ll help them to build their temple.
Thus, they are ripe for the accepting of the antichrist when he comes with his plan to put the wall between the mosque, the Dome of the Rock Mosque, and the northern area of the temple mount, and grant the Jews the right to rebuild their temple. They will hail him immediately as their Messiah. But after three and a half years, when the temple is built and he returns to the temple, he will then reveal his true identity through his blasphemy. He will stand in the temple of God, proving that he is god, and demanding to be worshiped as god, causing the daily sacrifices and prayers to cease. They will set the image of the beast there in the temple. The image that they give power to speak. Men will be actually commanded and ordered at the force of death, to worship the beast and his image. So because Zechariah speaks of the Branch building the temple, that is why they are looking for their Messiah now, and that’s why they anticipate identifying him as the Messiah as he helps them build the temple.
But Zechariah is looking a little further beyond the temple that will be built, to the Kingdom Age temple described in Ezekiel, that the Lord Himself shall build. “He will bear the glory, and He will sit and rule upon His throne, and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
And the crowns shall be to Helem, and Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD (6:14).
In other words, they were to make these crowns. They were to put the crowns upon Joshua, but then they were to set them in the temple as a reminder to the people of the future glory that would come yet to Israel. When their true King comes and reigns. So they were to be set there, and every time the people would go to the temple, they’d see the gold and silver crowns that had been put upon Joshua, or put upon Jesus, if you please, the Greek name. It was the reminder that one day He will sit upon His throne in the temple and reign--the hope for them.
And they that are far off shall come and build the temple of the LORD (6:15),
I hope to be in that crew; I just hope that I don’t be ordered to use a framing claw hammer.
and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, and you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God (6:15).
So that glorious day in the future when Jesus comes and reigns, and there is obedience to Him and to His kingdom.
Now some men came to Zechariah with a question. While they were in Babylon they had been observing a couple of days of fasting. The day…they commemorated the day that the temple was destroyed by the Babylonian army. So they came to Zechariah with a question.
It came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came to Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu; When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD, And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years? (7:1-3)
So during the seventy years of captivity, there in the fifth month there was this appointed fast commemorating the destruction of the temple.
Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying (7:4),
So Zechariah went to the Lord with it, and God answered Zechariah.
Speak unto all the people of the land, and unto the priests, saying, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even for those seventy years, did you really fast unto me, even to me? And when you did eat, and when you did drink, did you not eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when the men inhabited the south and the plain? (7:4-7)
In other words, the Lord is saying, “Look, I never ordered these fasts to begin with.” They were weeping and fasting over the judgment that God had brought upon their fathers because their fathers had disobeyed the word of the Lord. But they had set them up as religious holidays, and they began to develop the ceremonies, and the religious rituals surrounding these holidays. Holidays that God had never ordained; holidays that God had never established. God did not recognize them.
Now to the present day there are among the Orthodoxy of the Jews the celebration still of these two days in the fifth month and the seventh month. But God still doesn’t look upon them. God said, “Look, wouldn’t it have been better to have just listened to what the prophets of God had said to your fathers rather than fasting and then going ahead and eating? It had been better that you just listened to what God had said.”
Now in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah, before this took place, Isaiah spoke to the people concerning their fasting, beginning with verse 3. Oh, might as well begin with verse 1. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet.” He’s ordering Isaiah to do this. “And show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, they delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and they forsook not the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God. ‘Why have you fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen us? Oh God we’ve fasted and You haven’t paid any attention to us. We’ve afflicted our souls and You didn’t take knowledge of it.’” You know the fasting and the…oh, there’s a word, I can’t think of it, the afflicting, starts with a “c,” but it’ll come to me. “But God You haven’t really taken knowledge of it.” “Behold,” and God answered them. “Why didn’t You, Lord, pay attention to us? We were fasting and afflicting ourselves, why didn’t You pay attention?”
The Lord said unto them, “Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and you exact of all your laborers.” You make everybody else work. “Behold you’re fasting for strife and debate, and to smite with a fist of wickedness. You shall not fast as you do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.” You’re not really fasting as unto the Lord, you’re taking pleasure in these fast days; it’s not a true affliction. “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? Did I choose this kind of a fast?” The Lord said, “A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush and spread sackcloth and ashes under him?” These were the way they were afflicting their souls, you know, lying on burlap or camel skin, which is very rough and coarse, and putting ashes on themselves. God said, “Did I ask you to do this? Do you call this a fast that is an acceptable day to the Lord? Is this not the fast that I have chosen? Isn’t this the way I would rather have you fast, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke. That’s,” God said, “the kind of fast I want you to do. Just set at liberty those that are bound, your slaves and all, turn them free. Isn’t the fast that I have chosen to deal your bread to the hungry and that you bring the poor that are cast out into thy house? If you want to really fast to the Lord, prepare a great meal, and call the poor in and feed the poor.” God says, “I’d like that kind of a fast, I’ll accept that kind of a fast. When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from thine own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee; and the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer. Thou shalt cry, and He shall say, ‘Here I am.’ And if thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, and the putting forth of the finger, and the speaking of vanity” (Isaiah 58:1-9).
So people can get into religious rituals, fastings even, that God didn’t order.
Now they said, “Shall we continue?” God said, “I didn’t ask you to do it in the first place. You know, they weren’t true fasts unto Me. It would be better if you would take a day where you’d just really sit down and hearken unto what happened, and realize that what happened happened because of their disobedience. Here you’re grieving over the loss of the temple; you should be grieving over the unrepentant heart of your fathers that caused the loss of the temple. You should be grieving over the fact that they wouldn’t listen to God. So you’ve set up your own holidays, but I didn’t order these holidays.”
Wait a minute! Lord shall we still observe December twenty-fifthh? You say, “All right, stay off of that. You’re stepping on my toes.” When did God ever order man to observe the birthday of Jesus Christ? Shall we still observe the tenth month, and the fourth month Lord, or the twelfth month, and the fourth month? You see, these are holidays that men have established. We have our Lent season. God never ordered a Lent season. God never ordered an Ash Wednesday, a Good Friday, or a meatless Friday. These are the impositions of man. You might think about that. Because when God was questioned concerning these holidays that they had set up, God did not really recognize them, He said, “I didn’t ask you to do that. Better that you just really hear the words which the Lord has cried by the prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, and the cities around about her were inhabited.”
And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy, compassions to every man his brother (7:8-9):
That’s what God really desires. You say, “I want to fast,” but God says, “Hey, I would rather you just be fair, you be honest, you be merciful and you be compassionate to each other.”
Don’t oppress the widow, nor the fatherless, nor the stranger, or the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his neighbor in his heart (7:10).
These are the things that God will take notice of. These are the things that God will delight in. These are the things that God is asking you to do--not to fast, but to do these things.
But [the Lord said,] they refused to hearken, they pulled away the shoulder, they stopped their ears, that they should not hear (7:11).
These were the things that the prophets were telling their fathers, and they wouldn’t listen to them.
Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his Spirit by the former prophets: therefore there came great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts (7:12-13).
Isn’t that an awesome thing? God said, “Look, I cried unto you and you wouldn’t listen. I was asking you to be fair, to be honest, to be compassionate, to be merciful, to take care of the widow, and the stranger and the poor, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry. I cried unto you, but you wouldn’t answer Me. Therefore, when you cried unto Me, I didn’t answer you.”
“To obey is better than to sacrifice.” It is important that we be obedient to the Word of the Lord. That we, each one, tonight make the application to ourselves. That we give ear, give heed to the Word of God, so that when we are in need, and we are in trouble, when we cry unto God, that He will listen to us.
So they were scattered with a whirlwind among the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid [that is, the Babylonian army, laid] the pleasant land desolate (7:14).
Now again the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called A city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, The holy mountain (8:1-3).
So this is a promise of the future age when God will return, when Jesus comes and establishes His kingdom upon the earth, and will reign from Mount Zion over the earth.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet be old men and old women dwelling in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof (8:4-5).
What a picturesque scene of the future kingdom, when boys and girls are playing together in the streets in complete safety. Very picturesque.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts (8:6);
Let me say that God sees the Kingdom Age in perfection, and the perfection is when boys and girls can play together safely in the streets. There are some people that are so spiritual that they think that children ought not to play together. The Kingdom Age, it shall be so. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts,”
If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of the people in these days, [“Hey you think this is great?”] should it also be marvelous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. [It’s actually, “in My day.”] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; [They’ll come from the Orient, and from America.] And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. [That is not so yet, the day will come.] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built (8:6-9).
So he’s referring to actually the prophesies of Haggai who was encouraging the people when they laid the foundation to go ahead and to build the temple and all.
For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to them that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbor. But now I will be unto the residue of this people as a former days, saith the Lord of hosts. For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, the ground shall give her increase, the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these (8:10-12).
Now you remember Haggai began his prophecy by saying, “Hey, you’re planting a lot of seed, and you’re taking in a little. Your money is being put into bags with holes. You don’t have enough to go around. Why has it happened? Now consider the problems that you’re facing. Is it not because you are dwelling in ceiled houses, and you’ve allowed the house of the Lord to go desolate?” Then you remember the people all decided to rebuild the temple. Haggai says, “Mark this day on your calendars, from now on it’s going to be different. Your barns are going to be full. You’re going to be blessed of the Lord, because you’ve now taken on again the task of building the house of the Lord.” So now they are completed the task, and Zechariah is pointing out, “Now you are being blessed once again. The seed is prospering, whereas before the seed was not prospering.” They were planting more than they were harvesting. “The heavens will give their dew.”
And it shall come to pass, that as you were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing (8:13):
Now this is going into the future now, the future Kingdom Age when Jesus reigns. Israel will once again be the light, and the blessing to the world.
You remember Paul said in Romans, the eleventh chapter, as he was giving the allegory of the Gentiles being as a wild olive branch that were grafted into the tree, that they might receive of the fullness, the fatness from the tree? That we Gentiles, through Christ, have been made partakers of the promises that God gave to Israel. God cut off the natural branch, Israel. He grafted in this branch, contrary to nature, the Gentiles, that they might receive of the fullness and the fat of the roots of the promises, of the covenants. But he said, “Don’t boast yourself against the branch, for if God cut off the natural branch that you might be grafted in, God is also able to graft again back into the tree, the natural branch, and He will do it.” Then he points out, “If the cutting off of the branch brought this glorious salvation to all of the Gentiles, if the cutting off the branch brought such glory, what do you think will be when He grafts the natural branch in again, but just the glorious kingdom of God over the earth.” For all of Israel shall be saved, and of course, here is this promise in Zechariah that the Lord will be the Savior to them. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, I will save My people, and I will bring them, and they will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and in righteousness.” Then again, verse 13, “And it shall come to pass, that as you were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, I will save you, and ye shall be a blessing.” So the twice promised salvation.
fear not, let your hands be strong. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I did not change: So again I have thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. These are the things that ye shall do; Speak to every man the truth to his neighbor; execute judgment in truth (8:13-16)
I want fairness. I want honesty. Speak to every man the truth to his neighbor, execute the judgment of truth,
and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all of these things [God said] I hate (8:16-17).
We better take a careful study of that little list of things, because those are the things that God hates, has hated, continues to hate, and will always hate. I don’t want to be doing things that God hates. So study that list carefully, make sure that you are doing the things that God tells us to do. Our honesty, our truth, our peace, not imagining evil against our neighbors. God said, “I hate these things.”
Now the word of the LORD [he said] came to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace (8:18-19).
So if these days you’ve been fasting by that order, turn them around; make them days of feasting. Make them cheerful days. No longer affliction, but cheerful days.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yes, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD (8:20-22).
Won’t that be exciting when Jesus is actually dwelling in Jerusalem, and we say, “Come on let’s go to Jerusalem and see the Lord!” Ooh wee that’s going to be marvelous! That’s going to be so glorious, when we’ll be able to go to Jerusalem, and just sit at the feet of Jesus, and just to learn from Him. The glorious Kingdom Age. “Many people, strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.”
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all of the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, [Hey] we will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you (8:23).
Now the burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, and all of the tribes of Israel shall be toward the LORD. And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. Now Tyrus did build herself a stronghold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mud in the streets (9:1-3).
When the city of Tyrus was under siege by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian army besieged Tyrus for thirteen years. But because they had a great port, and because the Phoenicians were ruling the seas, though Nebuchadnezzar had cut off their supplies from land, they were able to supply the city with their naval power. There is a marvelous spring right there in the city of Tyrus. So that they were able to survive a thirteen-year siege by Nebuchadnezzar. But when it looked like this pest was not going to go away, the people thought, “Well, why do we just coop ourselves up here, why not move to the island that is offshore?” So the city of Tyre was rebuilt during the thirteen years of siege, and was made an island fortress about a mile out in the Mediterranean. So that by the time the Babylonian army broke down the walls and entered into the city of Tyre, they had moved all of the wealth, and all of the riches, and all of their goods out to the island. So he received no spoil from the destruction of Tyre at all. It was sort of an empty city by the time he came in.
Now, because of their naval power, the Phoenicians became an extremely wealthy people. As Zechariah describes it here, “They heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold like mud in the streets.” Alexander the Great then came through the area. He demanded that the city of Tyre capitulate. They refused to do it, and so Alexander began a seven-month battle against the city of Tyre, in which, after seven months he finally took it. When he took the city of Tyre, down to the south, the area of the Philistines, they were so frightened, actually, by Alexander’s taking of Tyre, they thought, “If that powerful city fell to this man, surely we cannot stand.” Most of them just sort of surrendered to Alexander the Great, and he conquered all of the cities of the southern coastal plains of Israel.
Now Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem on several occasions, but he never did attack the city. In fact, he gave animals to the priests and said, “Offer them to your God for me.” Alexander the Great had a strange occultish, religious experience, but he did reverence other religions. He did reverence the Jewish faith and religion and did not attack Jerusalem at all. It would seem that this particular prophecy in the first part here of chapter 9 is a reference to the coming of Alexander the Great and conquering this territory. The territory of Syria, and then of Lebanon, and then on south into the coastal plains of Israel. So, “Tyrus did build herself a stronghold, heaped up the silver as dust, fine gold as the mud in the streets.”
Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; [Interesting, of course at this time they’d already built the island fortress.] and she shall be devoured with fire (9:4).
Of course, Alexander the Great burned the city of Tyre to the ground after he conquered it, because of the fact that they dared to defy him.
Now the southern coastal cities:
Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines (9:5-6).
So the Philistines were destroyed and cut off by Alexander the Great.
And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite. And I will encamp about mine house because of the army (9:7-8),
So God is saying, “I will more or less be the defense.”
because of him that passes by (9:8),
That’s all Alexander the Great did, he passed by. He did not take Jerusalem.
and because of him that returneth [back and forth]: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes (9:8).
Now the latter part of the prophecy goes out to the Kingdom Age.
Now in verse 9 we have a remarkable prophecy concerning Jesus Christ that is quoted by Matthew. But it is interesting to notice how the Holy Spirit quotes this prophecy in Matthew. The significance is that which was left out.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, upon a colt the foal of an ass (9:9).
So here is the prophecy of the coming King. He is lowly; He is riding on an ass, upon the colt, the foal of an ass. This was fulfilled, of course, in what we call the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem when He came down the Mount of Olives, riding on this colt upon which no man had ever ridden before. The disciples took their coats and placed them in their path, and they waved palm branches, crying, “Hosanna, hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Psalm 118, the Messianic Psalm.
Now, Matthew says, “This was done in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled saying, ‘Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee.’” But Matthew did not quote this next part. “He is just, and having salvation,” but he jumped that phrase, and quoted, “He is lowly, riding upon an ass, upon the colt the foal of an ass.” Why didn’t Matthew quote, “He is just, and having salvation”? Because in the first coming, Jesus did not establish the kingdom.
When Jesus comes again, He is coming, first of all, in righteousness to judge the earth. “He is just.” The coming to judge is yet future. So that is why it is not quoted by Matthew in the first coming of Jesus. That awaits the second coming when Jesus establishes His throne and gathers together the nations of the earth for judgment. It is then when the promise of salvation will be to the Jews and to the world. So, “He is just and having salvation,” that day is not yet come. Matthew significantly does not quote that part of this prophecy. But Jesus did come even as Zechariah described, riding upon the colt.
The Lord declares:
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, the horse from Jerusalem, the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth (9:10).
There are many promises in the Old Testament concerning the reign, the coming reign of Jesus Christ. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. The government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. And of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David to order it, and to establish it in righteousness and in judgment henceforth, even for ever. For the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7). This is that time when the Rock not cut with hands smites the great image of man’s government and brings an end to man’s futile efforts to govern man. And the Rock grows into a mountain that covers the earth, the glorious coming kingdom of Jesus Christ that will cover the earth. And then shall be fulfilled Psalm 2, “Ask of Me, and I will give to Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.” His kingdom shall be from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the world. Oh, I can hardly wait as I look at the poor governments of the world today struggling. Getting more expensive all the time, and failing to bring real peace, real justice, real hope for man. Oh, Jesus, come quickly. Establish Your righteous kingdom.
As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope (9:11-12):
Interesting that He speaks of the blood of His covenant. Of course, that’s what Jesus established through His death, the blood of thy covenant. These prisoners who were in the pit, in the abusso, were freed, or they were actually in Gehenna.
Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, raised up the bows O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with the whirlwinds of the south. And the LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with the sling stones, and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as the ensign upon his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, new wine the maids (9:12-17).
God’s glorious Kingdom Age, and as we see the Lord reigning it will be declared, “How great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!”
Now in this Kingdom Age, the promises of the Lord:
Ask ye the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. For the idols have spoken vanity, the diviners have seen a lie, and they have told false dreams; they have comforted in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled because there was no shepherd. My anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts has visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. And out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, and out of him every oppressor together. And they shall be as a mighty man which treads down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded. And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and will save the house of Joseph, and will bring them again to the place; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them (10:1-6).
The glorious restoration when God returns again the land to the people completely. What we see today is not really the fulfillment here of this portion of Zechariah.
And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD. I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased (10:7-8).
So the promises of God, the pouring forth of this latter rain upon the people. The rebuke of the false prophets, the diviners, those who have told their false dreams to comfort the people in vain. The problem that the people had because of the lack of leadership, and God stepping forth to their defense. Ephraim, their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.
The Bible makes a very clear distinction between the mind of man and the heart of man. The mind of man deals more in the shallow areas of a person’s life. Moods, emotions, where the heart deals more with that temperament of an individual. God wants your heart tonight. God wants, not a change of mind, but a change of heart. You know you can change your mind quite often, and people do; your heart is changed very rarely. Your heart is really only changed when you are born again. That brings a change of heart, a change of temperament, a change of whole. Your whole life is changed when your heart is given to God. That’s what God is calling for, a change of heart.
So rejoicing in your heart is rejoicing in the deepest level of your life, and it is not a variable as is the happiness as is the world is pursuing today. You know tonight, while we are gathered here studying the word of God, around the city there are people gathered seeking happiness. It’s amazing the various things that they are doing as they are looking for happiness. There are little kids glued to the asteroid machine, shooting down all of these alien invaders. They’re looking for happiness, excitement, thrills, but how long does it last? Pretty soon Gorf will say, “You are stupid. I have defeated you again, space cadet.” And the quarter’s gone. Happiness is such a variable, but the rejoicing, the joy of the Lord is a constant thing deep within. So as a Christian you can have mixed emotions, sorrow in the area of your mind, but still joy in your heart.
The Lord has seen fit to take one of our beautiful saints from Calvary, Sue McCurty, one who gave herself so freely, so fully to the Lord and to the things of the Lord. One who loved nature, and you find a person who has a deep love for nature, you find a person with a deep love for God, for God’s creation. We’ve loved Sue McCurty and her husband Ken. They’ve been such a tremendous blessing to us. Sue was always an athletic type, always trying to get me to exercise more, and to get into shape. She felt that God had called her to help me to become healthier, and gave me books, and I read them. They were very interesting.
Now Sue has gone to be with the Lord, and we’re going to miss her. My heart is heavy…well, my mind is heavy to be truthful. My heart rejoices; I know Sue’s with the Lord. I know there’s no more pain. Now, God saw it fit to take her by cancer, and why, I don’t know. But that’s something that’s a part of God’s planning. And I have, I know that the present suffering which is for a moment is not worthy to be compared with the glory that she’s already experienced there in the presence of God. So we sorrow because we’ve lost a dear friend, but in the same token I rejoice in the Lord that God has prepared a place for His children, that God has prepared a kingdom, and that we are all children of the King. One day we will gather with Sue in a new body that will be in perfect shape. Sue’s ministry to me is over. When I see her again, I’m going to be in great shape in that new body! I rejoice in the glorious hope through Jesus Christ, though yet, I grieve and I sorrow because I’m going to miss Sue so very much. I needed her to exhort me on my weight problem.
“Their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.”
My heart continually rejoices in the Lord. Because the character of God is constant. He said, “Behold, I’m the Lord God, I change not.” He’s constant. His love for you is constant. It’s not a variable. God’s love for you does not alter from one day to another. God’s love for you does not alter with your moods. Aren’t you thankful? “Oh, what a nasty mood you’re in today. I can’t stand you.” No, God never says that to you. He says, “Oh, what a nasty mood you’re in today. I love you so much.” You see, God’s love isn’t a variable. It doesn’t change. It’s constant. Thus, if I rejoice in the Lord, my rejoicing is constant. I don’t rejoice in circumstances; they are the variables. Sometimes I do, then other times I don’t. All depends on the circumstances. But the rejoicing in the Lord is always constant, because the Lord is constant in His relationship to me, in His love for me, in His goodness to me, in the hope that He has given.
The Lord said, “I will hiss for them.” Now hissing is something that we don’t do in the English culture, and I’m glad. It’s a shrill kind of a sound of disdain, and anger and hatred. In that oriental culture, they are quite emotional and demonstrative. They get real upset and they start to hiss. As they hiss, they let sort of the spittle too, you know. So they get right up in your face, they go, “hiss,” you know. It’s something you do to show great disdain against an enemy. God said, “I will hiss for them.” That’s interesting. God’ll take your side; God will stand up for you. “And I will gather them for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.” God, “My people, I’ll stand up for them. I’ll hiss for them. I’ll take their side.”
And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in the far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again. And I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them. And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all of the deeps of the rivers shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away (10:9-11).
This is all a part of that Kingdom Age. The people of God had been brought through the sea of affliction, no doubt. The Lord said:
I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they will walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD (10:12).
So God’s glorious restoration of the nation Israel, His relationship to these people, as God becomes their strength, and as they walk up and down in His name, saith the Lord.
Now as we come into these last four chapters of Zechariah next week, we get into some of the most interesting passages in the Old Testament of prophecies concerning the antichrist, concerning the coming of Jesus Christ, first and second, and concerning the Kingdom Age. We also will be dealing with prophecies that relate to Israel right now. Prophecies that we have seen fulfilled in our lifetime. You’ll find them extremely interesting. Some of the most interesting prophecies of the Old Testament are found in these next four chapters of Zechariah. So that’s for a week from next Sunday night. Next week, Dr. Wilder Smith. So tune in same time, two weeks from tonight and hear the conclusion of Zechariah.
Shall we stand. May the Lord be with you and watch over and keep you in the love of Jesus Christ through the week. May you be strengthened by His Spirit in your inner man. May you comprehend more and more what is the length and the depth, and the height and the breadth of God’s great love for you. May you just bask in that love this week. May you be filled with that love. May you overflow with that love as you reach out to those around you who are less fortunate, to help, to strengthen, to supply. God be with you, and may He use you as His instrument to show His love to this needy world. In Jesus’ name.